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R. If any cite this passage as place where they are found, furnishing an example to coun-lest he be led or take a liberty, tenance guilesul practices, or any from the mere sound of words, deceitful artifices, in regard to to preach doctrine contained the things of religion, I think, neither in that particular text, they pervert the words from nor in any other passage of the their true to a very opposite sacred volume. meaning,
Q. Well, I am more and more convinced, that when we read the scriptures, we ought to pay
From the Christian Observer. particular attention to the scope and connection of the several
Counterpart to the remarks on passages, to the subject of which
Ministerial Faithfulness, drawn they treat, to the object or de
from the example of Jolin the sign of the speaker, &c. Other
Baptist. wisę we may be exposed to take în false ideas from the mere [Concluded from p. 108.) sound of words, or from a particular sentence or proposition, N a former paper I troubled which, if it stood singly and a- you with some Remarks on lone, would convey a very dif- the nature of Ministerial Faithferent ideą from what it does, fulness, drawn from the examwhen viewed in the connection ple of John the Baptist, and I in which it stands, and with ref. promised to add a few observaerence to the manifest design of tions applicable to the case of the speaker.
hearers. R. Your remark is very just. We repair to Church, let it By detaching particular prop- be supposed, expecting to be enositions found in the scriptures, tertained by an oratorical sermon, from the passages in which they or wishing to hear some docare used, and applying them in trinal point satisfactorily stated the sense
which they would and discussed ; but the preachmost naturally suggest, if they er disappoints us by a plain and stood singly and alone, we might pointed censure of some parti, make sad work with the Bible, cular vice. Now may not this and both prove and disprove be a vice to which we are subthe same things the grossestject ? May not the very disapfalsehoods, as well as the most pointment which we feel be an certain truths. Therefore, when indication of our resting too a preacher takes, for his text, much in general truths ? Like some particular proposition, or the hearers of John the Baptist, sentence,or part of a sentence, be we love to be instructed on any cause the words, taken by thein- subject rather than that of our selves, suggest an idea, or seem own individual faults, and like to favor a sentiment, which he them we are displeased with the may wish to inculcate, nude bue- preacher because he fails to satcomes him to examine very isfy our curiosity, to confirm our carefully into their true mean- prejudices, to amuse our fancy, ing and import, in their proper and to gratify our taste. Many connection, and as used in the I persons seem to imagine that a
disposition merely to attend the pented of, or of his present pur. preaching of the gospel, is a suf- poses to be changed ; what are ficient evidence of a religious the sins of his particular age, state. They do not consider that temperament, and circumstan. the motives which produce the ces; what are the temptations crowded congregations of mod against which he has studiously ern times, may be no better than to guard; what the affections those which led one multitude to which he must specially control; follow John the Baptist into the what the lusts which it is his duwilderness, and another multi-ty to renounce? Have you ears tude to gather round our Saviour to hear on these topics? Have when he preached his sermon you a heart to bow under this on the mount, “ Bring forth,” species of reproof? If you have said John,“ fruits meet for re- not, however sound may be the pentance.”-“ Not everyone doctrines which you profess, you that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, are not sound in your heart. You (said our Saviour) shall enter in would have been offended with to the kingdom of heaven, but he John the Baptist, if you had been that doeth the will of my Father one of the multitude which went which is in heaven.” Novelty to hear him ; for he would have of every kind is almost sure to warned you of that very fault of entertain. The fame of a new which you cannot bear to be adpreacher of repentance drew sol- monished. Are you a proud diers and publicans, as well as person ? He would have exhortpharisees, into the desert, and ed you to beware of that sin of He “to whom the spirit was pride with which you are pos: given without measure," He who sessed. Are you luxurious and was pre-eminently“ holy, harm- intemperate ? Put away, he would less, and undefiled,” was eager- have cried, that sloth and self-inly followed by many of the pro- dulgence : rise early : be temfane, and was welcomed with perate in all things. Are you general hosannahs as he entered expensive and ostentatious ? Reinto Jerusalem ; a city distin- duce, he would have said, that guished for shedding the blood splendor in your equipage, and of the prophets, and now about that unbecoming finery in your. to fill up the measure of its guilt. dress. Are you violent in your
I am persuaded, Mr. Editor, temper? Lay aside, he would thatin our days evan elical doc- have said, these sinful passions. trines seldom fail to be approv- “ Keep thy tongue as with a ed by us, provided they are stat- bridle."" He that answereth a ed in general terms, and are al-matter before he heareth it, it is so countenanced by the circle or folly and shame unto him.” Are family in which we dwell. But you peevish and discontented, how do we bear to be reminded and, though blest with much of our own besetting sins ? John prosperity, apt to complain of the Baptist tried his hearers by some little circumstance in your this test. Reader, are you one lot. Fret not, he would have who desires to know what is said, because a servant has disoamiss in his temper, conversa- beyed you ; because a friend tion, and conduct; what part of seems to have neglected you ; his past actions needs to be re- I because some one has spread a story to your prejudide ; Grieve | monition of our fellow-creatures not because taxes are high ;' be- another ? And may we not, cause additional economy must therefore, reasonably suspect our be practised; because the num- very prayers to God of being ber of your superfluities must hypocritical, if we are manifestbe a little retrenched : and if ly unwilling to take any oiher you should then complain of the mode of correcting our faults ? deficiency of his preaching, he As a philosopher, who is intent would have refused to address on some important discovery, you in any other strain than feels indebted to those who will this. Again are you overcome pointout a mistake into which he by temptations ? Pluck out, he inay have fallen, and will in any would have said, this right eye: measure direct hiin in his fucut off this right hand : part ture course, so the Christian, with this Herodias, this forbid- whose great object is to detect en indulgence. In vain do you the past errors of his heart, and “ do many things" while this to advance in the way of eternal one thing is retained.
life, will not fail to welcome Here again I would remark, that faithful reproof. I would by no means be thought To conclude, That which John to undervalue the peculiar doc- the Baptist did at the hazard of trines of the gospel. These his very life, let Christians enunquestionably are of infinite courage both their ministers and importance, and ought often to private friends unreservedly. to be urged with earnestness and do, by shewing that it may be force.
Be assured, however, done without exciting the least that if you are of that temper
offence. “ Confess your faults which forbids your hearing pa- one to another, and pray one for tiently of your faults small as another, that ye may be healed." well as great : if you repel all “ Thou shalt in any wise rebuke those who are disposed to touch thy reighbor, and shalt not sufon subjects of this sort, you then fer sin in him.”
" Exhort one are no real disciple of Christ ; another daily, lest any
be for the same spirit which is ne- hardened through the deceitfulcessary to the humble accept- ness of sin."
S. P. ance of the gospel will incline you to submit no less readily to reproof. Can any man, for example be really trusting in From the Christian Observer. ; Christ, who is not convinced of his sin ; or can any man be tru- OU have complied with my ly convinced of his sin in general, who will not bear to hear of account of my visit to Theophiany one particular fault? How lus. In the persuasion that evindeed can he, who brooks no ery important occurrence in the admonition, be said even to pray life of such a character, cannot in sincerity and truth ; for is it fail to afford instruction and ennot the object of prayer to ob- tertainment to many of your reatain spiritual improvement ? Is ders, I now send you some furnot prayer one of the means of ther anecdotes respecting him. edification, and is not the ad- Let me first, however, prea
mise, that the flattering hopes taken possession of his estate, which we entertained for his gave a new and profitable turn recovery were not disappointed; to his thoughts and views. in a few days after the dispatch The wife of the rector, and of my former narrative, we had mother of four children, died, the satisfaction to see him re- after an illness of only a few stored to our prayers in perfect days : Theophilus had too much health. The news of a national feeling and humanity not to be victory would scarcely have difdeeply affected at this event, and fused more joy in the little cir- he only waited, according to the cle of his friends and admirers. - established etiquette, until the
When Theophilus succeeded funeral had taken place, to offer to the estate which he now en his personal condolence to his joys, he found a living attached friend. Judge of his surprise, to it, in the possession of a cler- when, on the sabbath following gyman who was beloved by his the death of the lady, and the parishioners, and generally es- day after her interment, he saw teemed for his piety and benev. the rector enter the church, with olence. The opinion entertain-a depressed but composed coun. ed of him did not exceed his tenance, and with a firm but merits, and Theophilus was de- submissive voice heard him perlighted to discover in him, a form his ministerial functions. man of polished manners and The discourse which he addreselegant conversation, learned, sed to his congregation, naturjudicious, and intelligent, and ally had a reference to his own he courted an acquaintance with situation ; it was pathetic, solhim, which was soon improved lemn, and impressive : 'one pasinto an intimacy.
sage in it, which was commitAt this period, the religious ted to writing at the time, with attainments of Theophilus were tolerable accuracy, by a sensible of a standard little superior to parishioner, has been commu. what mine were when I lately nicated to me, and was nearly in entered his house. In the course the following terms. of his education at school and 66 You see me, my brethren, the university, he had gone thro' with the characters of grief upthe usual routine of religious in- on my countenance; they are struction, but the seed was sown deeply engraven in my heart. To among thorns, and the pleasures lose a wife, an amiable beloved of this world, “ the deceitful-wife, the tender mother and kind ness of riches, and the lusts of protector of four dear children, is other things entering in, had no trivial sorrow; but I should choked the word, and it had be- be ashamed to appear before you, come unfruitful.” He attended, if, upon this trying affliction, I indeed, the service of the church were to belie the doctrines which with considerable regularity, but I have taught. I sorrow, but rather for the sake of shewing not as one without hope; I know an example of decent conform in whom I trust, and I feel his ity than from conviction, or an divine support on the present anxiety to improve. An affect- occasion; it is that alone which ing occurrence which happened enables me thus to address you. about six months after he hadHad I sought for consolation in
that worldly wisdom, which menguage of inspiration - The Lord call philosophy, I should not gave, the Lord hath taken away, have found it; I should have blessed be the name of the Lord." sunk under the calamity which As for myself, why should I has befallen me; but the gos- grieve ? because the dear obo pel teaches me that the afflic-ject of my earthly affection has tions which Christians suffer entered into the joy of the Lord? here, while they are the deserv- for such is the blessed confied punishment of their sins, are dence with which her faith in also intended to purify their himr has inspired me. No, my faith, and to prepare them for dear friends, though I am dethe enjoyment of that eternal prived of a companion in whose happiness which Christ has par- society I enjoyed all the happichased for them by his death. ness which this world can afIn all the dispensations of the ford, though niy children have Alinighty, justice and mercy, lost a most affectionate endear. where there is room for mercy, ing parent, yet my sorrow is are ever united' ; nor are any of well nigh absorbed in the the afflictions to which a be- thought of the happiness which Hever in Christ is exposed, with she now enjoys. I derive sapout abundant sources of consola- port and consolation from the tion. Such an one knows that confidence I feel, that the Lord, whom God loveth he chasten- in whom she trusted, has taken èth ; and while, therefore, heher to himself, and from the considers his sufferings as the hope that through faith in him I effect of his sinfulness, and hum- shall again see her a purified bles himself under them ; he saint, in the company
my evregards them also as proofs of er blessed Redeemer." the love of his Creator, who is This was a scene to which thus weaning him from earthly few persons present had ever attachments. Feeling tható trib- witnessed a parallel, and for alation worketh patience, and which Theophilus was wholly patience experience, and expe- unprepared ; his admiration was rience hope,' he says in his heart, equal to his surprise ; he knew it is good for me to be afflicted, the rector to possess more than and he resigns himself to the a common share of sensibility, disposal of his heavenly father, and that the warmest affection in the hope of eternal life thro' had ever subsisted between him Christ, a hope which elevates and his wife. The style of the kim beyond the limits of the discourse, the tone and manner world and time."
in which it was delivered, and When the Christian also calls | the unimpeached integrity of to mind the sorrows and agonies the preacher, did not suffer him of his dying Redeemer, and to entertain a doubt respecting whilst he contemplates, with un- the sincerity of his resignation, atterable gratitude, the stupen- and he felt all the force of the dous display of divine love, in example, although the then was the atoning sacrifice of the Son by no means qualified to appreof God, then is his burthen ciate the value of the principles lightened, and his tongue in which had inspired it. stinctively exclaims in the lan- Theophilus was too much af